City and Regional Planning

Peter Norton

Monday, October 3, 2022 6:00pm
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Meyerson Hall, B03, 210 South 34th Street

Dr. Peter Norton, Associate Professor of History in the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia, will give a lecture entitled "We Don’t Need the Technofuturistic Utopia: Bypassing Transport Consumerism."

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” the Wizard of Oz told the adventurers. The Wizard feared they would discover his deception. This is our dilemma. We have all the technology we need for the transport transformation. But tech companies, automakers, and others want to convince us that we need unlimited futuristic tech. For 90 years, they have been selling us impossible futures, always on the promise that amazing technology will finally deliver the city where everyone can drive anywhere at any time without delay. When the promises fail, they invoke the next generation of amazing technology to restore their lost credibility. But amazing technology does not make car dependency work. The promoters’ goal has never been transport sufficiency; they sell transport consumerism. We must pull back the curtain, expose the high-tech distraction, and recognize that we already have everything we need for the affordable, healthful, inclusive and sustainable transport future we seek.

Peter Norton is associate professor of history in the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia. He has also been a visiting faculty member at the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, and is a member of the University of Virginia’s Center for Transportation Studies. Norton is the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City (MIT Press), and of Autonorama: The Illusory Promise of High-Tech Driving (Island Press, 2021). He is a winner of the Abbott Payson Usher Prize of the Society for the History of Technology, and a frequent speaker on the subject of sustainable and equitable urban mobility.




If you require any accessibility accommodation, such as live captioning, audio description, or a sign language interpreter, please email to let us know what you need. Please note, we require at least 48 hours’ notice. If you register within 48 hours of this event, we won’t be able to secure the appropriate accommodations.